This is a difficult day for me...and the fact that it's ten years later...doesn't make it any easier. I'm happy that I don't have to journey into the city today because even now I start to breathe a little faster and tears come to my eyes when I think about September 11, 2001.
I know that there were many people trapped in NYC that day and that they all have memories of that horrid day...but here are a few of mine:
1. I remember exactly where I was, what I was wearing (never wore it again), and what I was doing at 8:43am when the first plane crashed into the first tower of the World Trade Center.
2. For days and weeks afterwards, I looked for people that I rode the bus to NYC with worried that they were part of the missing.
3. I never made it home to Jersey that day or the next...thankfully I was living with my parents at the time (in the midst of a divorce) so my daughters were safe with them. The officials of NYC shut it down so quickly and so tightly that I could only get to my friend's house in Connecticut.
4. I was on the train out of Manhattan with people covered in ash and dust. They were like zombies - so shell shocked. I remember that at every train station, there were ambulances and medical personnel to assist them as they got off the train.
5. I cried for two days straight once I got to my friend's house and finally spoke to my daughters. I didn't shed a tear until then...and after that I couldn't stop shaking and crying.
6. Many people lost friends and family members in the towers collapse. I didn't. My cousin who worked in one of the towers didn't go in to work that day...but I did lose the security and joy associated with being in New York City.
7. The bus I take to NYC comes down the helix into the Lincoln Tunnel with a great view of lower Manhattan. For weeks after the towers collapsed, I had to close my eyes until we were safely in the tunnel because otherwise I would become hysterical looking at the cloud of dust that hovered over the spot where the towers use to stand.
8. Walking across town was like walking from one memorial to another. There were pictures of the missing on every lamp post, every stop sign, even attached to fences...the sorrow of those looking for the missing was so overwhelming...
9. There were so many funerals and memorial services. My boss at the time went to at least one, sometimes two funerals a week once the bodies started to be pulled from the rubble. It was a daily reminder of how many lives had been lost and how many families were affected.
10. I've never been to lower Manhattan again since.
These are my memories. However, the real heros of those horrendous days were the Policemen and Firefighters who raced into those buildings trying to save the people trapped there. The nurses and doctors who waited for the trauma patients that never came. The citizens of NYC who stood in long lines to give blood that was never needed. The rescue workers who foraged through the remains of the towers for days, weeks and months ~ first looking for survivors and then looking for remains to give the families some closure...at what we now know was a risk to their own health.
Those are the true heros of September 11th...them and all of the innocent victims...
May we never forget their sacrifices...